* * * June 14, 2061 * * *
Months later Woon tweaked the joystick of the winged “Stardancer” ECF air and space craft he was responsible for.
In a semi-suicidal move, he shot the streamlined ten-meter-long ship into a dive that took it above a Tasla tracker bomb, a spherical explosive device a meter in diameter that was tracking and gaining on the carrier ship. While the nose of his ship dropped straight down towards the bomb, Woon fired the thirty-millimeter twin cannons. Anticipating evasive action, Woon swiveled the guns and fired another round almost instantly. His prediction paid off. The bomb sizzled and cracked, telling Woon it was time to get away before the blast that was sure to follow erupted. With the help of a rotating engine at the aft, he spun the ship around. The Stardancer rocked as a flying chunk impacted. An alert sounded, but damage wasn’t crippling, as most of the projectiles blew harmlessly into space. A smile briefly graced his lips before he sobered up for his next action. He was a man transformed from the studious academic and star athlete of the past. It had taken a lot of introspection and meditation to come to terms with killing a man with his own hands. Before his hubris had led to a man’s death, he’d always felt proud of his martial arts skills, his hobby and his father’s business. Now he felt differently about the deadly skills he’d been excited to learn in class. With the help of old monks his father knew, army drill sergeants, psychologists, and strategists, he’d shaken off the desperate desire to take his own life. He’d turned his mind from what now seemed to be trivial academic papers and karate medals to embracing the grim reality of the wit, skill, and most of all, control, needed to be a warrior. An ancient family honour rested on his shoulders; two family honours really, so he now strove to follow the harsh codes of the traditional samurai. He was well prepared to die; even craved it a little yet.
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